DC Digest – October 28, 2013

In Today’s Issue:

  • NEW FEATURE: This Week in Washington
  • North Carolina Delegation’s District, State Staff Visit Campus
  • College Board Issues Annual Reports on Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid


OFR is pleased to introduce a new feature of the DC Digest, This Week in Washington, a digestible preview of what DC policymakers are debating, discussing, and deciding in the week ahead. 

  • Health Care: Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, is expected to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee regarding the healthcare.gov roll-out. Five Democratic Senators have called upon the administration to extend the enrollment period and delaying penalties for not enrolling.
  • Immigration: Immigration advocates, including 600 of the most conservative leaders in business, agriculture, and religion, are planning targeted meetings with 80 Republican representatives. The leaders will be asking for the House to debate and vote upon four immigration reform measures approved by the House Judiciary Committee.
  • Budget: The House-Senate conference committee on the FY14 budget will have its first formal meeting on Wednesday, but congressional leaders are working to reduce expectations that the panel will  reach a grand bargain that includes significant tax and entitlement reform.   The leaders’ more modest goal is to find agreement on final spending for FY14 and the means to avoid the next round of sequester cuts scheduled to kick in early next year.
  • Finance: The Federal Reserve meets this week, with an announcement due out at 2:00pm Wednesday. Here, the Fed will have the opportunity to clarify or modify a statement that “downside risks to the economy have diminished since last fall.” Business Insider says the markets will be watching to see if there is clarification or adjustment based on the government shutdown. In other financial matters, The Hill reports that Democratic Senators are looking to raise taxes by $50 billion in order to replace the  funding cuts put in place by the sequester.
  • White House: Friday, President Obama will host will host Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at the White House. The visit will highlight the importance of the U.S.-Iraq relationship under the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement (SFA). Also on the agenda are “regional issues.”

Read More:
Sebelius to testify before House panel Oct. 30, two top HealthCare.gov contractors to appear Thursday (Washington Post)
Immigration Poses Threat of Another Republican Rift (New York Times)
Here’s the One Thing You Should Look For In This Week’s FOMC Statement (Business Insider)
Dems to go on offense on taxes (The Hill)


Duke OFR hosted a campus visit on Wednesday of last week for the state and district staff of the North Carolina delegation to Congress. These staffers oversee the home offices of the Senators and Representatives that represent North Carolina in the U.S. Congress, and they participated in a full day of meetings to learn more about Duke’s programs.  Topics included Duke Divinity School’s impact in the state, STEM education outreach programs and research, and lunch with student veterans. The staff then spent the afternoon with staff from the Duke University Health System Office of Government Relations.

Read More:
Event Recap: Congressional State and District Staff Day (governmentrelations.duke.edu)


The College Board on October 22 issued its annual reports on college pricing and student aid, which show that increases in average tuition and fees at public and private four-year colleges and universities have slowed, particularly at public institutions.  In addition, 49 percent of all student aid in school year 2012-13 was in the form of grants, the highest percentage in the past decade, with 8.8 million students receiving federal Pell Grants.

– Trends in College Pricing 2013 shows that the 2.9-percent increase in average in-state tuition and fees at public colleges and universities was the lowest percentage increase in 30 years.  The average published tuition and fees for those institutions was $8,893, while the “net” price, or the amount after subtracting grant aid, was $3,120.  For private nonprofit colleges and universities, published tuition and fees rose by an average of 3.8 percent, or slightly less than in previous years.  The average published tuition and fees for those institutions was $30,094, with an average net price of $12,460.

– Trends in Student Aid, 2013 reports that undergraduate students in school year 2012-13 received an average of $13,730 per full-time equivalent (FTE) student in financial aid, including $7,190 in grants from all sources and $4,900 in federal loans.  Federal grant aid declined by one percent from the previous year, while total grant aid per FTE increased by one percent.  Of total undergraduate grant aid, the federal government provided 45 percent, colleges and universities provided 38 percent, state governments provided eight percent, and employers and other private sources provided 13 percent.

In the same school year, graduate students received an average of $25,730 per FTE student in financial aid, including $7,800 in grants and $16,240 in federal loans.

Read More:
Trends in College Pricing 2013 – Full Report (CollegeBoard.org)
Trends in Student Aid 2013 – Full Report (CollegeBoard.org)